Wednesday, 10 October 2012

And it's goodnight from me...

As promised, Salonnieres, here is the link for the new Salonblog, developed by new Salon management bod, Megan Leyland: It is a wondrous realm of scholarship and clean design and the promise of cake. Go read!

This blog is now closed for business.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Salon in October

Not really, Salonnieres; we love change! There are a couple in store for the Salon and we're looking forward to them.

Since the Salon was created in 2010 by postgraduate students within the Department of History of Art and Film at University of Leicester, we've followed through on our mission statement to create "a forum in which students could share knowledge, present ongoing research in an open and friendly environment, and gain valuable experience of academic process." More than that, however, we wanted to create a focal point for the student experience within the Department. Contrary to expectation, being a student can be sometimes be a bit lonely whether you're an undergraduate or postgraduate, a mature or international student, studying part-time, on a campus or working long-distance. We wanted a group that would not just keep us abreast of what people were researching but would help to form relationships and support networks for students at Leicester, and that's what it's done and will go on doing. While the Salon will maintain those objectives, the management will be changing from next month. Megan Leyland and Emma James will be the new organisers of the Salon and have an exciting, original and wide-ranging programme of events planned for the Salonnieres.  

In line with this new organisation, we will be retiring this blog. A new, more accessible Salonblog is currently under construction and information will be circulated when it opens very soon. There's some discussion over whether this blog will be imported to the new one but, to all intents and purposes, this is the last Salonblog post here. At this point, you may like to imagine a single, crystalline tear tracing its way down my cheek, but it's not the end, beloved Salonnieres!  

Next week sees the opening seminar of the Salon for the new academic year, under new management, and with a new blog on the horizon. Exciting times! The Salon’s first seminar of the academic year is traditionally an open and informal meeting to welcome new students. You can meet other History of Art & Film students, find out what’s going on in the Department, and get to know a bit more about what the Salon does. It also gives us the chance to have tea, cake, and a bit of a chat, which, as you know, are some of our favourite things! Whether you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate student, we’d love to see you there.

The Salon will take place on Wednesday 10th October from 13:00-15:00 in ATT 216 (Attenborough Seminar Block 2nd Floor).

Everyone is welcome, so bring yourself, bring your friends, bring a teacup. See you there!  

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Apocalypse then: The Salon in September

Hello once more, Salonnieres. I'd traditionally start off with some sort of quip about the holidays but perhaps the less said about the summer weather, the better? Never mind; we'll always have the Salon! And, of course, what does the Salon exist for if not to lighten your heart and ply you with tea and cake and research when times get rough? Hold that thought, gentle reader, because next week's Salon topic is going to be a weeny bit grim: it's the End of the World!

File:The Day After Tomorrow movie.jpg
Save us, Dennis Quaid, save us with meteorology! Only kidding; sadly there are no papers on Dennis Quaid and who'd win in a fight between him and a CGI wolf.   

The Salon will be looking varying representations of decline, apocalypse, and yes, the End of the World in the next session on Wednesday 5th September, 13:00-15:00, in ATT LG03 (Attenborough Seminar Block Basement). In a change from the usual Salon format, four postgraduate researchers will be presenting short papers on 'The End of the World', giving us a range of source material, methodologies, and interpretations, and representing the breadth of research ongoing within the Department.

Andrew Croft will be giving a paper titled 'A Sense of the Apocalyptic: Interwar Anti-War Films'. Emma James will be presenting 'Landscape and Identity in Post-Apocalyptic Cinema: The Road'. Miriam Cady will look at the end of a world in her paper 'The Decline and Loss of the British Country House', and Victoria Byard will look at representations of apocalypse in British children's television in her paper, 'Noah's Castle: A Very English Apocalypse'.
The Salon is run by postgraduates within the Department but is open to students and staff of any discipline with an interest in the visual arts, so please feel free to forward information about the Salon on to anyone you think might be interested. As ever, tea and cake will be freely available during the session.

We hope to see you there!  

As an addendum: we'll also be announcing a change of management at the next Salon session. Julie Ives and myself have very much enjoyed running the Salon over the last two years and being able to meet all the Salonnieres, but the twilight years of our PhDs are now upon us. It's time to pass the Salon over to postgraduates who have the time to commit to it. I'm happy to announce that Megan Leyland and Emma James have agreed to take over the running of the Salon from November this year. We wish them all the best.

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Salon in June

Hello again, Salonnieres! I hope you aren't all partied out from the Jubilee weekend because now it's time for another celebration. Yes, it's the End of Term Salon! While, alas, term times mean very little to postgrad students, some of our undergraduate members will be coming to the end of their academic year and possibly their degree. As such, it behooves us to celebrate in the way the Salon knows best: cake and learning!

The Salon will be holding an interactive session to discuss ongoing research, upcoming events, and changes in the Salon Committee. Come one, come all! Bring your friends! Bring a teacup!

The Salon in June will take place on Wednesday 6th June, 13:00-15:00, in Room LG02 (ATT LG02, Attenborough Seminar Block Basement).

You can keep up to date with the Salon on Twitter @thesalon_haf, or via our Facebook group.

(June's interactive session replaces the scheduled 'End of the World' seminar due to the withdrawal of several speakers, but who doesn't prefer the end of term to the Apocalypse?) 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Hello, Salonnieres! May is fast approaching. Did you know that in Oxford, crowds greet the dawn of every May Day with revelry, music, and public inebriation? That all sounds well and good until you realise that there's also Morris dancing involved. The Salon is allergic to Morris dancing, so we are going to celebrate May with a Salon presentation. And - sing along, you know the words - tea and cake!  

Following the joint research seminar with IDeoGRAMS of last month, next month’s Salon returns to one of the postgraduate research group’s main objectives, to act as a forum for ongoing research within the department. The Salon in May will be led by Megan Leyland, giving a paper titled ‘To be handed down to posterity’: The 3rd Countess of Harewood and the architecture of Harewood House. This is part of Megan’s ongoing doctoral research on 'Gender, Patronage and Architecture in the Nineteenth-Century Country House'. Megan has also been selected as one of University of Leicester's fifty best postgraduate researchers, selected competitively from over a thousand doctoral researchers, and her work on the country house and as part of the Department of History of Art and Film will be featured in the upcoming University of Leicester Festival of Postgraduate Research (17th May). Congratulations, Megan!

In addition, there will also be a short presentation from Ben Wynne from the University of Leicester Library. Following recent discussion within the Salon about changes to the Library website, Ben has very kindly agreed to talk to us about making the most of the research materials and resources offered by the David Wilson Library.

The Salon will take place on Wednesday 2nd May from 13:00 to 15:00 in ATT LG02 (Attenborough Seminar Block Basement). All are welcome!
The Salon would also like to thank everyone for the high level of attendance and support shown at last month’s joint research event with IDeoGRAMS. We hope that, like us, you found the Ethical Choices in Visual Culture Research’s presentations interesting and productive, and the subsequent discussion engaging and useful. Following the success of that event, we will be holding a further joint research event with IDeoGRAMS in June in order to open up the discussion to producers, curators, and archivists of visual culture material. We hope to invite representatives from media companies, galleries, moving image archives, and other individuals who will be able to contribute to a shared dialogue and greater understanding of the relationships that tie academia and institutions together. This day-long event will be held on Friday 15th June in Bankfield House; more information on registration to follow. The following day (Saturday 16th June), there will also be a one-day workshop, ‘British Society on the small screen? The Historian, Television and History', in the School of Historical Studies which Salonnieres may find interesting. This workshop is funded by the Economic History Society and is free to attend.
The Salon session proper on 6th June will be a session of mini-presentations based loosely around the theme of ‘It's The End of the World As We Know It’. The literal translation of apocalypse is ‘revelation’ or ‘a lifting of the veil’; consequently we are looking for submissions for ten-minute presentations, looking at representations of change and revelation as much as more commonly understood conceptions of apocalypse, and post-apocalypse. If you want to practice giving research presentations, this could be an enjoyable and easy way to do so! Please contact us at vrb3 at le dot ac dot uk with your proposals. 
You can also keep up to date with what's going on at The Salon on Twitter @thesalon_haf, or join the Facebook group at!/groups/155452421216246/. If you would like to contribute to the blog with posts about ongoing research, issues that you've come across as a postgraduate student or even just interesting links, then we would be happy to have you!
We hope to see all of you in May.

The Salon is a Morris dancing-free space.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Salon in April: Ethical Choices in Visual Culture Research - an afternoon symposium - Wednesday 4 April 2012

Oh, Salonnieres, we are moving up in the world! I am pleased to let you know that we are holding our first ever joint research event on the 4th of April, looking at visual culture and ethical research. This is a bit of a hot topic in the 1616 office (to the point that we gesture vigorously with teaspoons and speak through our mouthfuls of cake!) so we raised the issue at The Salon AGM and next thing you know: we've got an afternoon symposium jointly organised with IDeograms (Interdepartmental Group for Research into the Arts Media and Society)! We are very excited about this event and cannot wait to discuss issues of digital research, visual culture, and academic ethics with you, so here is all the information you will need: 

The forthcoming afternoon symposium on visual culture and ethical research is of vital importance not only to those who use visual culture within their research but also to those students and staff who have questions about academic research in a digital age. It is also an issue of particular importance to University of Leicester students. The University of Leicester is one of the first institutions is one of the first to embrace the possibilities of digital research by putting all doctoral theses online, but what does this mean for students and researchers?   

The event has been organised jointly by the Department of History of Art and Film’s postgraduate seminar group, The Salon, and the Interdepartmental Group for Research into the Arts Media and Society (IDeoGRAMS), to consider some of the legal, ethical and moral questions involved in using visual material in an academic context.  In an age when the internet allows access to more and more visual material, much of which has been previously unavailable, academics have an increasingly rich seam of visual sources to tap into.  But as responsible scholars, should we really assume that just because something is available it should be used?  For example, what happens if we are unable to establish provenance for the material, or its originator is clearly not the rights holder?  What is the legal position and what ethical choices do we face? 

These are some of the questions that this seminar is designed to engage with.  Contributors will include Gareth Johnson, Document Supply & Leicester Research Archive Manager, who will address some of the issues surrounding copyrighted material and fair dealing and Dr. Natasha Whiteman from the Department of Media and Communications, who will lead us through the ethical and moral maze we might encounter when using visual media.  There will also be time set aside for a more general discussion of the topic, which will give attendees an opportunity to raise their own questions.  This is an interdisciplinary event open to all staff and students who engage with visual material in their work and we hope to be able to bring as many perspectives to the table as we can. 
The afternoon will conclude with a summing up by Professor Kevin Schürer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor with special responsibility for Research and Enterprise. 

The symposium will take place on Wednesday 4 April 2012 from 2.00- 5.00pm at Bankfield House, 132 New Walk.  If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact either us at the blog or by email. You can reach us at tothebourgeois at gmail dot com, or at vrb3 at le dot ac dot uk.  

We would encourage you all to attend this Salon and IDeoGRAMS event. It promises to be an interesting and productive afternoon involving staff and students from across the University, and will directly address questions of academic practice that may affect your own studies and research.

This is the first, but we hope not the last, joint research event for the Salon, and we would love to see as many people there as possible, not least because we feel that digital humanities is an area which raises questions and issues, but is, undoubtedly, here to stay. In the words of the late, great Mrs Merton, 'Let's have a heated debate!', but with academic rigour. And cake, obviously.    

Monday, 5 March 2012

Everything you need to know about the second half of the Department

Since I'm now course representative for postgraduate History of Art and Film I thought I better take my duties absolutely seriously and try and, you know, represent the course. 

Unfortunately, I know very little about the history of art, though in the course of my research I discovered that there is a little known genre of art called Paysage avec ruins which is French for Landscape with Ruins, which is part of a wider fascination with Gothic and classical ruins, but I digress. Therefore, I can only really cover the history of film, which brings me to the subject of this rather rambling blog post: Mark Cousin's The Story of Film: An Odyssey.  

This series does what it says on the tin, it tells the story of film. It is unreservedly excellent. In fact, I think many film students could save themselves a vast sum of money by not going to university and just watching this instead. Cousin's begins at the beginning, which is already a major advance on the structure of many first year undergrad courses, with the Lumiere Brothers and the invention of film. Each episode deals with a decade in cinema history. He is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about each change and advance in film making, but not in that hyper-active, slightly panting way that seems to be in vogue. Think Simon Schama or Michael Palin but talking about films. He covers world cinema as well as Hollywood, he discusses the change in gender roles and power in the industry and he gives numerous concrete examples of styles and concepts, and he does this in every episode. For me, the examples are the most important point, he doesn't make vague references to Italian neo–realism or Hollywood musicals, he shows several examples from films and analyses exactly what is happening on screen and why it is key to the development of the film art form. Though some aspects are covered somewhat too rapidly and some points are Cousin's opinion rather than factual information overall the series is a fascinating watch.

Now, I am aware that this is primarily useful to those researching or studying film. However, I have watched countless wildlife documentaries without any desire to get a degree in zoology or biology. Similarly, I watched a whole series on BBC4 about the Impressionists last year (Oh wait, I do know something about art history after all!) but haven't written a paper on Van Gogh's Field of Crows. The point, there is one, honestly, is that this is brilliant documentary that will genuinely teach you about a hugely important aspect of art and popular culture. That, and I could think of anything else to write about.

The book is out now; the DVD is released on April 23rd.  

Also, if anyone has any issues they want me to raise in staff/student meetings, feel free to email me.